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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Calcium

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Calcium & Leg Cramps[posted 11/6/98]
Question: Would taking Calcium enhance night leg cramps?

Answer: Occasionally, usually no effect.

Calcium [posted 10/2/98]
Question: I am a 52 yr. old who has been recently diagnosed with osteopenia. I take Calcium 500mgms. with Vitamin D three times daily. I've had a hysperectomy and also have gall stones. I have not experienced menopause. Recently I moved to a new location. Our local water I am told has a high Calcium content. Should I decrease the amount of Calcium I take. Is it likely that the Calcium will aggravate my gallstones.

Answer: The calcium should have no effect on your gallstones. The calcium in your water will increase your intake;but, not sufficiently to warrant stopping or decreasing the calcium. An accurate test is to measure urinary calcium excretion over 24 hours to adjust your dosage for your dietary intake. Also, you need Vitamin D to use the calcium. You can usually get this with sun exposure, milk or vitamin supplements.

Calcium Deposits
Question: I have a friend (a young woman) who has been told she has a calcium deposit blocking a salivary gland duct. Her doctors have not been able to tell her what causes the Calcium deposit. Do you have any information? Are their treatment options other than the recommended surgery?

Answer: These can usually be retrieved with local manipulation of a probe in the doctor's office. Larger ones will require surgery. They are caused by a similar process to kidney stones and are relatively common. High fluid intakes, sour foods etc., will decrease the risk in the future.

Question: Are TUMS a good calcium supplement? If so, how many can an individual consume daily without having any side effects? Are there actually any side effects?

Answer: Tums is a good source of calcium and often the cheapest milligram for milligram. Price it out; but, calcium carbonate is calcium carbonate. Side effects are limited to formation of renal calculi(stones). If you or your family doesn't form stones, I wouldn't be concerned.

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